On 2 May 2011, a Boeing 717 aircraft, registered VH-NXE and operated by Cobham Aviation, was on a scheduled flight from Perth to Newman, WA. During the climb, the left engine failed. After completing safety checks and declaring a PAN, the crew returned the aircraft to Perth and landed without incident. An engine inspection identified blade failures in the left engine's high-pressure turbine (HPT) module. After disassembly, it was determined that the loss of a single HPT blade due to a fatigue failure had occurred.
The engine manufacturer had implemented a number of modifications to the HPT blades since 2003; culminating in a new-design blade, designated the Mk II. The subject engine had not been retrofitted with Mk II blades at the time of the occurrence.
The manufacturer had issued three service bulletins (SB) to operators regarding the installation and modification of engines with previous-design HPT blades. The operator is complying with these SB requirements; modifications have been scheduled to the engine fleet and are in progress with the manufacturer.